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Department of Taxation and Finance

Survey of Railroad and Utility Taxation Practices Among the States: 2005 Update


1. Basis for taxation:

All utilities are subject to an ad valorem property tax. Those regulated by the Public Service Commission also pay a gross receipts tax to fund the cost of regulation. Extractive industries also pay severance taxes.

2. Property subject to taxation:

Taxable: Real property; personal property, including intangible property.

Exempt: Certain intangibles, such as cash, accounts receivable, stocks and bonds.

3. Classification (if applicable):

Industrial property - 11.5%; mineral property - 100%; all other property - 9.5%.

4. Level of government which determines basis for tax liability - ad valorem property tax:

The State Department of Revenue has the legal responsibility for assessment all utility property. It certifies values to local taxing units, which then levy the tax. Cable television property is assessed locally.

5. Report filing and valuation method(s) required by statute for ad valorem taxation:

Companies are required to file information returns annually with the Department of Revenue.

No specific method of valuation is required in statute, other than use of the unit approach and determination of 'fair market value based on accepted appraisal standards."

6. Practical application of valuation method(s):

The general approach is the same for all utilities, but it can vary in specific applications. As a rule, all three approaches to value are attempted, but lack of good data may prevent application of one or more approaches to some companies (i.e., negative income, not publicly traded, etc.). In the case of some non-regulated or loosely regulated utilities -- the usual historical-cost less-depreciation method is supplemented by reproduction cost determinations.

7. Valuation treatment of large facilities such as power plants, dams, or rail yards:

Such facilities are state-assessed, at 11.5% of fair market value.

8. Apportionment method(s) required by statute:

There are no statutory requirements relating to apportionment.

9. Practical application or apportionment requirements:

The methodology developed by the Western States Association of Tax Administrators is used. The allocation factors are the ones outlined in this organization's handbook, and they are typically based on gross plant, net plant, revenue, and/or usage, with the specifics targeted to the particular industry. Overall, the predominant factor is historical (investment) cost.

10. Apportionment treatment of large facilities such as power plants, dams, or rail yards:

Such facilities are apportioned in accordance with WSATA, as described above.

11. Description of assessment appeals system:

Both local assessing unit and owner may appeal state-set assessments to the Board of Equalization. Local assessing units have no further right of appeal. Subsequent appeals may be made by Department of Revenue or owner to district court, then to state Supreme Court.

12. Status of deregulation/restructuring of electric generating and impact on valuation and apportionment methods used:

No such deregulation/restructuring has occurred, and accordingly, valuation and apportionment methods have not been impacted.

13. State Government Staffing:

Staff consists of four employees (full-time equivalent basis).

Law Source(s):     Wyoming Statutes, Title 39, Chapter 13, Article 102

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